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Landlord says drugs, needles, mess led to eviction of man living under bridge

Updated: May. 6, 2021 at 12:30 PM EDT
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LOWVILLE, N.Y. (WWNY) - Another story has emerged from neighbors reporting that homeless people are living under a Lowville bridge.

This time we hear from the landlord who evicted them and we learn about help for people who are left with nowhere to go.

“The amount of trash, around this and in the house, you had to pick and choose where you put your feet to walk in this house,” said landlord Robert Smith.

The house on North State Street in Lowville has been cleared out. No couches, no tables. But, pictures taken just a couple of months ago show piles of trash - trash Smith says James Lynch and his family left before he evicted them.

When we spoke with Lynch on Wednesday, he denied trashing the house. He said he has been homeless ever since and ended up camping under the bridge on State Route 12 just outside of the village for the past few nights.

“Me and my wife came here to get away from the people, to get away from the rudeness and the hate and it follows us everywhere we go,” said Lynch.

Smith says Lynch had trouble paying the full rent every month, but that wasn’t the key problem.

“Obviously, the issue of the eviction was selling drugs out of the facility,” he said.

Smith says the family in the other unit of the duplex was Lynch’s brother-in-law and his family. But, they had to move out because the conditions were not safe.

“They had three little girls of themselves and finding hypodermic needles on the lawn, in the backyard,” said Smith.

The situation has left members of the community wondering how something like this could happen in Lowville.

The commissioner of Lewis County Department of Social Services says there are several options for homeless people to seek help.

“They can walk into our office, we have never closed during the pandemic. They can go to Snowbelt Housing in Lewis County right on State Street in Lowville. And they can walk into the neighborhood center run by Lewis County Opportunities. So, all of our agencies kind of work hand-in-glove together to try and get people’s needs met,” said Jennifer Jones.

Lynch is set to be sentenced Friday to 6 months in the county jail and 5 years probation after pleading guilty to a methamphetamine charge.

Lynch says his wife will seek help from Lewis County Opportunities to try to create a living situation for when he gets out. His kids are staying with other family members.

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